Monthly Archives: June 2013

Pursuing a Career in Law

A number of individuals have this misconception when they think of lawyers or professionals working in the legal field. Some feel that legal professionals are often dishonest, cold, money-hungry, and lack a sense of compassion and morals. Having worked with numerous lawyers and legal professionals throughout my career, I can say that this is extremely far from the truth. Lawyers are kind, empathetic, have the utmost moral, and work exceptionally hard for their clients. Along with these personality traits, there are a number of skills and qualities individuals pursuing a degree in the legal field must also encompass. Below are just a few which I feel are essential for success in this profession.

Exceptional Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Law School

Pursuing a Career in Law.

Whether you aspire to be a lawyer or paralegal, exceptional interpersonal and communication skills are vital. There will be numerous times when you will be required to present a case in court or present the details of a case to a client. Not only must you be a great speaker in either of these settings, but you must also be a great listener. You must actively listen to other legal professionals while in court, your clients, or fellow associates. Legal professionals must be clear, organized, and thorough when interacting with any of these individuals. They must be able to communicate effectively and in terminology that clients will be able to understand.

Assertiveness

An individual who encompasses this trait is hard-working, motivated, objective-focused, and straightforward. Legal professionals have done extensive research on their case and will be aggressive in advocating for their client. Legal professionals must be assertive and driven. This does not mean that legal professionals are cold and tactless to others; it means that they are generally straight-to-the point when dealing with fellow associates or other professionals in court.

Organizational and Time-Management Skills

You always hear about lawyers working 60- to 80-hour work weeks and never having any time for themselves. While this may be the case for some lawyers, this is not the case for all legal professionals. The legal field is all about meeting various deadlines therefore, legal professionals must be able to prioritize and use their time wisely. It is common for legal professionals to be working on several cases at once therefore, they must have exceptional organizational skills. Legal professionals must recognize what needs to be done by what date and determine the best strategies to go about completing these tasks.

Efficient Legal Research Skills

Legal professionals must conduct extensive research regarding the cases they are responsible for. They must master a number of legal research techniques, know how to locate legal authorities, interpret legal documents and terminology, learn proper legal citation, and have a broad knowledge of legal concepts, case law, litigation, statutes, and other information related to the legal field. A great deal of their occupation deals with investigating and examining the details of their cases therefore, they must have in interest and motivation to conduct research.

Compassion and Empathy

Opposed to what some individuals may think, legal professionals must have compassion and empathy for their clients. Lawyers must feel some sort of connection to their client since lawyers are advocating for these individuals. Although lawyers do not agree with the wrongful acts their clients performed, they must be able to understand what led their clients to do what they did and try to see things from their client’s point of view at times.

Careers in the legal field are exciting and fast-paced with each case being different from another. Legal professionals are able to work with clients from all different backgrounds and social economic statuses. A law degree opens many doors in the legal field as well as other fields and legal professionals do experience a lot of satisfaction from a job well done.

Below are a few helpful links which are related to the legal profession.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://legalcareers.about.com/od/legalcareerbasics/tp/Legal-Skills.htm

http://www.law21.ca/2008/07/core-competence-6-new-skills-now-required-of-lawyers/

Becoming an ESL Instructor

ESL (or English as a second language) instructors have such exciting careers! ESL instructors are able to work with individuals from any age group and travel to a number of different countries to teach English to people from all different kinds of cultures and backgrounds. There are also a number of individuals who are unsure about the career they want to pursue so they become ESL instructors and work abroad while they decide which field they see themselves finding a career in. For those individuals, time away working in another country gives them the opportunity to learn about themselves, what they enjoy doing, and what they are interested in.

ESL Instructor

ESL Instructor Online and Campus Programs

To become an ESL instructor, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in education, English, or another related field. A bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete. Students may take courses in world literature, complexities of the English language, American literature, composition, literacy and literary criticism, and the history of the English language. Upon graduation, students must then undergo an ESL training program which provides the student with basic skills needed to teach English. Students are taught how to assess a person’s language skills, basic grammar lessons, and various conversational skills. Students in the ESL training program are also educated in the typical errors which are prone to occur from people in specific language groups. For example, Japanese speakers often have difficulty hearing and pronouncing the sounds of L and R, respectively. Upon completion of an ESL training program, ESL instructors must then obtain licensure to gain professional employment. Licensure requirements vary from state to state therefore, ESL instructors must do their research regarding what their local licensure boards require from their applicants.

Following all of these requirements, ESL instructors may gain employment. It is up to them to choose where they would like to work. Some ESL instructors choose to stay in their state of residence to teach at a local elementary, middle, or high school while others aspire to travel and teach English abroad. ESL instructors who choose this route are able to experience life in another country as well as learn about different cultures, backgrounds, and languages.

There are a number of skills which ESL instructors must encompass to be successful in this field. ESL instructors must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. Their occupation consists of interacting with people from different abilities and backgrounds therefore, they must be empathetic and understanding when communicating with these people. ESL instructors must be sensitive to different cultures since their students are not from America and were not brought up in the American culture. ESL instructors must be positive and motivating when working with their students. There are times when their students may become frustrated with themselves so ESL instructors must be patient and encouraging with their progress.

I’ve enjoyed the years that I was an ESL instructor and highly recommend this career to those who want to explore the world, work with interesting and kind people, and feel the satisfaction in a job well done.

Below are a few helpful links to related ESL websites.

Online ESL Schools   and Campus ESL Schools

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://www.fluentin3months.com/esl-teachers-learning/

http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachertraining/bb/bydecidetefl.htm

Essential Skills Required for those Aspiring to go into Psychology

There are several branches of psychology which one may specialize in however, all branches involve studying how the mind operates and behaves. Whether you’re thinking about entering clinical psychology which deals with understanding, preventing, and alleviating psychological distress or illness or developmental psychology which deals with assessing the psychological changes individuals go through in their lifetime, there are a number of common skills and qualities all individuals who are interested in pursuing any career in psychology should encompass. Below are just a few that I feel are essential in this profession.

A Passion to Help Others

 Psychology Student

Psychology Student

All branches of psychology have a common goal which is to promote and maintain psychological well-being by changing, controlling, or influencing behavior. Psychologists must encompass this passion to help their patients in achieving their goal of psychological contentment and satisfaction. Psychologists want to do the best job that they can in helping individuals function fully in society.

 

Exceptional Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Psychologists spend a lot of their time interacting with clients and patients therefore, they must encompass exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. Not only must they be great speakers, but they must also be great listeners. Clients and patients should feel that they can trust their psychologist and feel comfortable approaching them in times of need. Psychologists must be clear, organized, and thorough when giving advice during consultations. They must be able to communicate their knowledge, thoughts, and opinions effectively and in terminology that their clients and patients will be able to understand.

Patience

Because psychologists deal with a number of clients who are mentally ill or going through a distressing time in their lives, they must be patient and understanding when interacting with them. Working with individuals who are stubborn and nonresponsive or from different levels of abilities and backgrounds can be frustrating and difficult. Psychologists must be able to keep their composure and focus on advising and consulting their patients, all the while not allowing these distractions to interrupt or divert their attention from the task at hand.

Positive, Supportive, and Empathetic

Psychologists must advise clients in a way that maximizes learning and encourages growth. They must motivate their clients to want to do well for themselves while interacting with them in a positive, supportive, and empathetic manner. Psychologists who are negative or pessimistic during consultations will not be received well by their clients, which in turn will hinder their motivation to get better.

Efficient Research Skills

Psychologists must have efficient research skills since much of their occupation revolves around analyzing and conducting research. New studies are published every day and psychologists must be up-to-date with any new research, technology, or findings related to their field of specialization.

Throughout my career as a clinical psychologist, I have learned that these skills are essential in becoming successful in the field of psychology.

Below are a few helpful links to related psychology sites.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://work.chron.com/skills-clinical-psychologist-should-5474.html

http://psychology.about.com/od/psychology101/f/four-goals-of-psychology.htm

Essential Skills Required for those Aspiring to go into Business

Working in the business industry for all of these years has taught me that being “book smart” is not the only thing that is needed to succeed in this exciting and fast-paced profession. There are a number of skills and qualities which individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in business should encompass, a lot of which is not taught to you in your undergraduate career. Below are just a few that I feel are essential in this occupation.

Exceptional Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Business Schools

Aspiring Business People

There will be numerous times when you will be presenting projects with fellow associates or offering ideas in meetings with management. Not only must you be a great speaker in settings such as these, but you should also be a great listener. You must actively listen to other people’s ideas and opinions as well as be able to offer ideas and opinions of your own. Business professionals must be clear, organized, and thorough when interacting with associates as well as clients. They must be able to communicate new concepts and ideas effectively and in terminology that clients will be able to understand.

Positive Leadership and Managerial Skills

Business professionals must have positive leadership and managerial skills. They must be able to motivate fellow associates and employees by interacting with them in a positive and supportive manner. Business professionals who are negative or pessimistic when they interact with others will not be well received which in turn will hinder the employees’ motivation to do well at their job.

Assertiveness

An individual who encompasses this trait is hard-working, motivated, objective-focused, and straightforward. Business professionals know what they want and will be aggressive in pursuing it. With this profession being extremely competitive, it is important that business professionals be assertive and driven. This does not mean that business professionals are cold and tactless to others; it means that they are generally straight-to-the point when dealing with fellow associates and employees.

Modesty and Patience

Having just discussed the previous quality of being assertive, I feel too much aggressiveness may be looked down upon. Business professionals must also encompass humility. If business professionals expect an upper management title with a large salary or request a promotion as soon as they are hired, they will most likely earn a distasteful reputation. It is much more reputable to see an individual who earned their title and salary by being patient, working extremely hard, and proving themselves to others.

Organizational and Time-Management Skills

The business industry is all about meeting various deadlines therefore, business professionals must be able to prioritize and use their time wisely. It is common for business professionals to be working on several projects at once therefore, they must have exceptional organizational skills. Business professionals must recognize what needs to be done by what date and determine the best strategies to go about completing these tasks.

Below are a few helpful links which are related to the business industry articles.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://career-advice.monster.com/in-the-office/starting-a-new-job/business-skills-for-new-graduates/article.aspx

http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-training-certification-information/ten-top-business-skills-needed-today.html

Essential Skills Required for those Aspiring to go into Education

Before entering university, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with children and adolescents so I assumed a career in Education would best suit me. Now that I have been working in this profession for a number of years, I have learned so much and realized that liking children and adolescents is not the only thing to consider when deciding on a career as a teacher. There are a number of skills and qualities which individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in Education should encompass. Below are just a few that I feel are essential in this profession.

A Passion to Educate Others

Online and Campus Education Degrees

Online and Campus Education Degrees

Not only must you enjoy working with young people but you should also have passion and enthusiasm in educating them as well. Your interest and excitement for the material will come through when you teach. Your students will see that which will peak further interest in the material and motivate them to learn as well.  Education Articles and websites will help this process.

Exceptional Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Teachers spend their whole day interacting with a number of students therefore, they must encompass exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. Not only must you be a great speaker, but you should also be a great listener. Students must feel that they can trust you and feel comfortable approaching you if they are having any trouble with the material. Teachers must be clear, organized, and thorough when instructing students. They must be able to communicate new concepts and subject matter effectively and in terminology that students will be able to understand.

Patience

Because teachers instruct children, they must be patient and understanding when interacting with them. Working with children from different levels of abilities and backgrounds or who are misbehaving and not listening can be frustrating and difficult. Teachers must be able to keep their composure and focus on instructing, all the while not allowing these distractions to interrupt or divert their attention from the task at hand.

Positive Leadership Skills

Teachers must have positive leadership and instructional skills. They must present material to students in a way that maximizes learning and encourages growth. Teachers must motivate students to learn while interacting with them in a positive and supportive manner. Teachers who are negative or pessimistic in their teaching styles will not be received well by their students which in turn will hinder their motivation to learn the material presented in class.

Enthusiastic, Energetic, and Creative

Students may not always enjoy the material they are learning. Teachers must come up with creative ways in which to present the material so that they do not become bored and uninterested in class. They must be able to make class fun and enjoyable for the students. If class is boring and mundane, students will be discouraged to learn the material. It may also dissuade them from attending class altogether.

Support and Empathy

Students must feel that their teachers support and care for them. Students must be able to trust their teachers and not be afraid to come to them in times of trouble. Teachers are seen as another positive adult figure in a child’s life, therefore, teachers must always respond to students in a supportive and empathetic fashion when students come to them with difficulties, academic or personal.

Throughout my career as a teacher, I have learned that these skills are essential in becoming successful in the Education field.

Below are a few helpful links to related Education sites.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Good-Teacher

http://www.biz.colostate.edu/mti/tips/pages/GoodTeaching.aspx

Choosing a Psychology Graduate School Program

You have just completed your bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and have become so passionate about psychology that you have decided you would like to continue onto obtaining a master’s (and perhaps even a Ph.D.) degree in psychology. After researching numerous schools, you have become overwhelmed and confused about reasons why you would choose one school over the other. There are various aspects to think about when deciding which psychology graduate school program to apply to, but below are a few essential factors you must consider:

Which branch of psychology are you most interested in and passionate about?

Psychology Graduate School Program

Psychology Graduate School Program

Being a psychology school graduate yourself, you know there are a number of branches of psychology (i.e., social psychology, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, personality psychology, school psychology, etc.) one may specialize in. During your undergraduate career, you have probably sparked an interest in one of these fields. Therefore, when deciding on a psychology graduate school program, research which programs different schools offer. For example, if you are interested in industrial-organizational psychology and you found out that a certain school you were considering to apply to does not offer an industrial-organizational psychology program, you can obviously take that school off of your list.

Where is the psychology graduate school located?

Is staying in the same city as your family and friends extremely important to you? Do you enjoy cold weather? Do you prefer an urban or rural setting? Do you want to travel oversees? If you have a partner, do you need to live in the same city as them for the relationship to work? Or is a long-distance relationship something you are both willing to endure? These are all extremely important things to think about when applying to different psychology graduate school programs. Living in a certain environment affects your attitude and your day-to-day life therefore, make sure you only apply to psychology graduate schools in places where you would not mind (and perhaps even enjoy) living. Relationships are important to everyone so you will also have to consider the loved ones in your life and determine if you can be away from them for a number of years. Keep in mind that it is beneficial for students to attend a different psychology graduate school than the school where they received their bachelor’s degree. This ensures that upon graduation, students will have an interdisciplinary educational background.

How much will attending this psychology graduate school cost?

Each psychology graduate school program varies with regards to its tuition and fees therefore, you must look at your current financial situation and determine what you can and cannot afford. Do your research regarding scholarships, bursaries, and student loans which may be available to you. Psychology graduate school programs are expensive but careful planning will assist you in determining what your financial options are and the psychology graduate schools which are within your budget.

Is the psychology graduate school accredited and what is their reputation?

Employers only hire graduates from accredited psychology graduate school programs therefore, it is essential that you do your research regarding the institution’s accreditation and the quality of education the psychology graduate school offers.

Considering these important factors will assist in determining which psychology graduate schools programs are right for you and best suit your personal, professional, and financial situation. Below are a few links to sites which offer psychology graduate school programs and other tips to consider when applying:

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201211/tips-getting-graduate-school

http://www.apa.org/education/grad/applying.aspx

Choosing a Career Path…tips on what to do and what not to do.

School Road Map

Career Road Map

One of the hardest decisions in life is deciding what to pursue as a career. There are a number of different reasons why people choose the careers they choose. For instance, some people choose a career because it will provide them with a high income, others choose careers based on what their parents want for them, and others sometimes just don’t have a choice. Circumstances may force them to obtain any job that will provide some sort of income and these individuals then get stuck in this career thinking they have no way out. For those individuals, there are many options available. There are numerous colleges and vocational schools which offer evening and/or weekend classes as well as online classes to obtain a degree. They accept students of all ages and all academic backgrounds. However, we come back to the difficult decision on choosing a career path.

Individuals will hear time and time again, choosing a career because of the financial benefits will most likely result in dissatisfaction and disappointment. Some individuals don’t understand that financial gains almost always results in time lost and a whole lot of personal sacrifice, whether it be time with family, time vacationing, or time spent alone. Individuals with high incomes are usually working 60 to 80 hours a week and even when they are away from their office, they are still answering emails, completing work-related tasks, etc. Now if those individuals chose this career because they enjoyed it, then those 60 to 80 hours won’t feel much like work. For those individuals who chose it for the financial aspect, they will spend those 60 to 80 hours distressed and frustrated. After an exhausting day at work, how can they even enjoy the money they are making? They have to go to bed because in six hours, their long day at work begins again.

When choosing a career, it’s always best to begin by determining what you enjoy doing. Think about your hobbies and what you do in your spare time. Perhaps you enjoy taking your dog out to the park. Of course you do not get paid for that, however, you may consider a career as a dog walker or obtaining a position at the local humane society. This process takes time, research, and brainstorming but is well worth it if it results in ideas of career paths you may take.

It’s also beneficial to think about skills and qualities that you already encompass. Do you have exceptional interpersonal skills? Are you a competent problem-solver? Are you efficient at conducting research? Are you compassionate and empathetic towards others? Thinking about skills you’ve acquired may assist in determining and matching up the right career path for you.

Environment also should play a huge part in determining a career path. Those who enjoy diversity, excitement, and a fast-paced environment, a career which fits that setting (e.g., protective services) may be right for them. However, there are others who are detail-oriented, enjoy taking time with tasks, and are much more competent working in a quiet environment. There are those who enjoy getting dirty and working in a physically strenuous profession and others who enjoy wearing a suit each day to work in a business environment. Everyone is different and everyone works more efficiently in different environments. It’s beneficial to think about which settings you would enjoy working in when choosing a career path.

Choosing a career is not a straight-forward procedure. There numerous things to consider such as your values and ethics, your skills and qualities, what you enjoy doing, and environments you could see yourself working in. However, as stated earlier, doing it for the wrong reasons (e.g., money, making parents happy, to impress others) will result in your disappointment and discontent. If you’re unhappy with your current job, know that it is never too late to change careers as well. There are millions of individuals who go back to school later in life to pursue a career they’ve always wanted but couldn’t pursue before due to circumstance or responsibility. Take your time, do your research, network with individuals in the field, brainstorm a number of professions you think you would enjoy, and stay positive. You’re choosing a career in which you’ll be working in for a number of years so you want to be sure you’re content and satisfied with your decision.

Below are a few links to articles regarding choosing the right career as well as schools that have a number of degree programs available to prospective students.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/perry-binder/choosing-a-major-career-path-_b_1751690.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Decide-on-a-Career-Field

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2010/12/06/how-to-choose-a-career-thats-best-for-you

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2010/11/30/the-6-worst-ways-to-pick-a-career

Graduate School Applications…Knowing early on what graduate schools require is the key to success.

A common issue that undergraduate students deal with is the unawareness that students have regarding the many requirements needed to get into graduate school. Now in my opinion, this is no fault of the student, but of the school and their lack of presenting this information to them during their second or third year in university. I’m not saying that schools withhold this information; I’m saying that schools don’t necessarily impart this information during let’s say, a lecture or an information session. Undergraduates generally have to seek out this information (most commonly during their fourth or graduating year) on their own and by then, it is too late. Applications and requirements for graduate school are generally due by November for the following September academic term.

Graduate School Applications

Graduate School Applications

There are a number of requirements or prerequisites students need to possess when applying for graduate school. Completing and submitting an application form and paying the application fee is the easiest task. Transcripts from the college or university where the student’s bachelor’s degree was obtained are required. Committee or faculty members view all of the applicant’s grades throughout their undergraduate career however, most schools mainly focus on the student’s grades obtained in their last 60 credit hours or the last two years of study. A GPA of 3.8 (on a 4.0 scale) is fairly competitive for most schools. Graduate schools require students to have taken some sort of standardized admission examination (e.g., GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, etc.). Not only do they have to have passed this examination, but they must also have received a score at or above the 80th percentile to be competitive. Because there are hundreds of students applying in one year, the bar is set usually high and a score within the 60th percentile is not sufficient enough. Students should study for these examinations at least three months prior to the test date. Students must also be aware that graduate schools only accept test scores from these exams up until a certain date. For example, law schools generally accept test scores from students who wrote the LSAT in February and will not accept any other scores past that point. This might be upsetting to those who felt they did not get a competitive enough score and may want to write the examination again. Another requirement needed to apply to graduate school is two to three reference letters from different faculty members. To obtain these letters, students must have built some sort of professional relationship with these faculty members. It is not sufficient enough to have just been in this professor’s class, as he/she most likely has a few hundred students during the academic year. Students should volunteer or obtain a research assistant position in their lab to get to know the professor better. Students should approach professors who are doing research that is of interest to the student since they become heavily involved in the process of conducting this research. Another advantage in volunteering or working in a professor’s lab is the amount of experience gained during that time. Students learn about how studies are conducted, the process of publication, how to network with others in the field, etc.; students generally gain a broad knowledge of what research and conducting studies entails. This will also be beneficial to the student when a committee member sees this experience on the applicant’s curriculum vitae. Lastly, a statement of purpose is necessary. This document states the student’s career or research goals in a brief and focused essay. This may take some individuals a couple of months to complete. It is in the student’s best interest to not rush this process since this essay may be the only opportunity for them to describe themselves and why that specific graduate school, program, and advisor should choose that student out of the numerous other applicants. Before writing a statement of purpose, students should have researched and contacted potential advisors that they would like to work with as well.

As seen here, applying to graduate school can be a scary and daunting task. Students who are aware of the requirements needed to apply to graduate school during their second year of study are able to create themselves a timeline and checklist which would alleviate a lot of this anxiety. However, students generally find out about all of this information in their last year of study which results in a lot of frustration and stress. The student may be running around trying to fulfill all of these requirements in their fourth year which will put added pressure onto their coursework. I feel it is best if schools presented this information during a lecture or an information session which would be geared towards second and third year students. This will allow enough time for undergraduates to seriously think about graduate school and all of the requirements that applying to graduate school entails.

Below are a few links to informative sites regarding graduate schools and the application process:

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://gradschool.about.com/od/admissionsadvice/Admissions_Basics_How_to_Get_into_Graduate_School.htm

http://careers.washington.edu/News/2009/Eight-Tips-for-Getting-into-Grad-School

http://www.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/college-planning/admissions/applying-grad-school.htm